What is naturopathic medicine?
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct system of primary health care that addresses the root causes of illness and promotes health and healing using natural therapies. These therapies are often referred to as “alternative” or “complementary” in reference to the conventional healthcare model. Naturopathic physicians integrate standard medical diagnostics with a broad range of natural therapies. NDs follow six guiding principles:
1- First, Do No Harm (Primum non nocere)
Naturopathic physicians choose the most non-invasive and least toxic treatments necessary for each patient.
2- The Healing Power of Nature (Vis medicatrix naturae)
Naturopathic doctors recognize the body’s inherent ability to heal itself.
3- Identify and Treat the Causes (Tolle causam)
Naturopathic doctors identify, address and remove the underlying causes of disease.
4- Doctor as Teacher (Docere)
Educating and supporting patients on personal health management is an important role for naturopathic doctors. They empower patients to take responsibility for their own health. They also acknowledge the therapeutic value inherent in the doctor-patient relationship.
5- Treat the Whole Person (Tolle totum)
This is a holistic concept that recognizes the body as an integrated whole. Naturopathic doctors treat the patient, not the disease. A naturopathic assessment addresses the nutritional status, lifestyle, family history, physical, mental, emotional, genetic, environmental and social factors in a person’s life.
6- Prevention (Praevenic)
Naturopathic doctors promote a focus on overall health, wellness and disease prevention.
What education and training do naturopathic doctors have?
Dr. Kelly Simms has nine years of post-secondary education, including residency. Her undergraduate coursework included premedical prerequisites in biology, psychology, English, general chemistry, organic chemistry and biochemistry. She has a bachelor of science in Biomedical Engineering from North Carolina State University, from where she graduated magna cum laude and earned her four-year doctorate in naturopathic medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM). She completed a one-year family practice residency in Brookfield, Wisconsin under the supervision of naturopathic doctors and conventional medical doctors. She is a licensed naturopathic physician, having passed two rounds of board exams throughout her four years at SCNM.
When would someone go to a naturopathic doctor?
Naturopathic physicians are unique in their healthcare philosophy and training. They are trained to look at all body systems when evaluating a person and his or her concerns. Their training involves laboratory diagnostics, physical examination and pharmacology, but treatment considerations include a wide range of natural therapeutics.
When choosing Dr. Simms, patients are looking for the following:
- Greater focus on natural health and wellness
- Seeking an alternative to drugs or surgery
- Wellness and prevention
- Second opinions
What is the difference between naturopathy and homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a specific system of medicine that uses diluted potencies of natural substances to stimulate the body to heal itself. Naturopathic physicians are trained in the use of homeopathy as a potential natural therapeutic treatment option.
Does Dr. Simms work with other health care professionals?
Quality health care involves teamwork and communication, and Dr. Simms makes collaboration with other healthcare professionals a priority. Dr. Simms will refer patients to other professionals when she feels their experience or training would be beneficial. Working with a naturopathic physician in conjunction with other medical professionals can be highly beneficial for a patient.
Are naturopathic treatments well researched?
Naturopathic modalities such as nutrition, nutritional supplementation, and herbal medicines are well researched. In addition, many naturopathic recommendations are based on basic biochemical pathways of the body, thus inherently are well documented.
What professional organizations exist for Naturopathic Physicians?
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians is the national association for naturopathic physicians headquartered in Washington, D.C. For those of you not in the Chicago area, this website gives you a great way to search for an ND by location.
The Illinois professional organization for naturopathic physicians is the Illinois Association of Naturopathic Physicians.
What can I as a patient expect when working with Dr. Simms?
- Comprehensive, individualized care
- Time to listen and understand your concerns
- Prompt response to your questions
- Ongoing support to help you reach your health goals
What does Dr. Simms expect of her patients?
- Commitment to making changes
- Willingness to learn about and understand your health concern(s)
- Ongoing open communication
How is Dr. Simms Licensed?
Currently, Illinois does not have a legal definition of naturopathic medicine and thus does not have a licensing law to define the scope of practice for naturopathic physicians. Dr. Simms holds her license to practice Naturopathic Medicine in Vermont (099.0071912) and Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist license in Illinois (164.006298). Maintenance of both licenses requires annual continuing medical education.
What does the licensing landscape currently look like in the U.S.?
In states that have regulatory guidance, ND’s are required to graduate from a four-year, residential naturopathic medical school and pass and extensive postdoctoral board examination (NPLEX) in order to receive a license. Scope of practice varies from state to state, but many consider NDs primary care providers. Please visit this link to see licensing status from state to state.
What requirements must licensed naturopathic physicians meet on a regular basis?
Licensed naturopathic physicians must fulfill state-mandated continuing education requirements annually, and will have a specific scope of practice defined by their state’s law. Dr. Simms also maintains continuing education requirements for her nutrition license.